While working my way through student course papers, writing trite little comments and deciding if they should pass or not, I was taken aback by how bad some of these students are at writing. It’s not that they got the subject matter wrong – which they often have, to varying degrees – it’s that the sentences… the words they’ve chosen… best case scenario they’re clunky, worst case scenario they’re incoherent. And it didn’t seem to be because the student didn’t know the answer, it seemed more to be genuine difficulty in constructing a few paragraphs worth of decent text.
These are things I can’t really comment on either, other than maybe saying “next time, write better”. But that’s not very helpful. I wouldn’t really know where to start, and my job is to teach philosophy and evaluate their knowledge thereof, not to teach and evaluate writing skills. It does make my job a lot more frustrating when I’m not entirely sure what they’re trying to say with their odd, convoluted sentences.
On the bright side, it does help raise my self-confidence some; I generally take for granted that people are able to express themselves decently using the king’s Norwegian, but apparently it’s not as universal an ability as I generally believe it to be. That means I have an ability which not everyone else has! So maybe I can add decent at writing k thx bai to future job applications.